Civil engineering and road-building company, Bonnici Brothers was awarded yet another multi-million government contract in November 2020, this time worth over €3.4 million.
The tender, listed in the Government Gazette on Friday, shows the company, which over the past few years has benefited from multiple government contracts and direct orders adding up to several million, was awarded by the Water Services Corporation for the “construction of a storage warehouse facility in an environmentally friendly manner”. The Corporation falls under the Energy Ministry.
This information has come to light amid recent controversy involving Bonnici Brothers after activist group Moviment Graffitti accused Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg of planning to build a roundabout in Burmarrad to benefit the company, which has applied to build a supermarket on ODZ land next to the roundabout.
Moviment Graffitti argued that the company has received over €7.7 million in government contracts and direct orders in 2020 and 2021 and that they would be the only party benefiting from the roundabout, which farmers say will destroy farmland and potentially cause damage to a 500-year-old reservoir. Borg had denied the claims.
Throughout the past few years, the company has become known for being awarded government contracts running into millions in taxpayers’ money. In January, The Shift had reported that the company received €2.7 million in direct orders from Infrastructure Malta, which falls under Borg’s ministry, over the last two years.
Over €6 million in direct orders was also awarded to the company in a controversial government shooting range project at Ta’ Kandja in Siggiewi, which was carried out one year after the 2017 snap election. An NAO audit later confirmed gross mismanagement, weak controls, and various financial irregularities in the project’s execution, of which Bonnici Brothers had received 59% of all the contracts, an analysis by The Shift had found.
In February, The Shift reported that another investment by the company, a new €2.1 million plant at Ta’ Zuta quarry in the limits of Dingli, was also partly financed by taxpayers through Malta Enterprise and inaugurated by Prime Minister Robert Abela, who industry insiders said is known to have a close relationship with the Bonnici Group shareholders.